Here’s to the next 100 days, Mr. President
May they show as clearly as the previous 100 days that our Republic will endure.
What has Donald Trump accomplished in his first 100 days? I think the more important question is: What has America accomplished in Donald Trump’s first 100 days?
Before Donald Trump had completed just one day in office, millions of Americans joined the Women’s March to peacefully remind the president that, with his new office, he inherited a responsibility to all Americans.
As soon as President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, colloquially referred to as the Muslim Ban, American lawyers arrived at airports to represent those affected by the ban. Hours later, protests erupted at airports across the country to support the people being detained under the new order, many of whom had spent years navigating the process to legally immigrate to the United States, only to be told when they arrived that they were no longer welcome.
In New York, the ACLU immediately challenged the implementation of the order claiming violations of equal protection, due process, and the first amendment. At the same time, the Washington state Attorney General’s office was preparing a claim that the ban violated the establishment clause of the first amendment. Both challenges succeeded, and federal courts found the ban unconstitutional. The administration tried again after altering the ban slightly. And again, a federal court in the state of Hawaii struck it down as unconstitutional.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently promised to withhold federal funds from jurisdictions that refused to allow the federal government to commandeer their law enforcement officers to enforce Draconian anti-immigration measures. Just a few days ago, a federal court reminded Sessions that this would violate the Constitution and enjoined the Department of Justice from following through and withholding federal funding in this way.
Even as Trump has lashed out at judges who disagree with his personal constitutional interpretation and has attempted to undermine the credibility and independence of the judiciary, the courts have stood up to the president, fulfilling their duty to protect the rights of the people enshrined in the Constitution.
The American people have been no less steadfast.
The day after signing Executive Order 13769, Donald Trump appointed nationalist and ideologue Steve Bannon to the National Security Council’s Principals Committee. Nonprofits, activists, lobbyists, and lawmakers across the political spectrum came together and mobilized to pressure the president into removing Bannon from his NSC post. At the beginning of April, Bannon lost his seat on the Principals Committee. While Bannon is still permitted to attend NSC meetings, he is no longer on footing comparable to that of the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State in the national security decision-making process.
When Trump spearheaded an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Americans called their elected representatives in record-breaking force, telling them to oppose the repeal that would strip 24 million (or 26 million, by the White House’s own estimates) people of access to affordable healthcare. Trumpcare died before it even came to the House floor for a vote.
When Trump undid nearly all of the progress made by the previous administration in climate policy and scientific research on climate change, he stirred a response from the scientific community, which rallied across the country. Scientists — people who are trained to remain objective in their search for the truth, whether or not the data support their hypotheses — took a political stand en masse. They found themselves defending the scientific method itself.
This comes as no surprise considering the Trump administration’s relationship with facts. Appropriating the term “fake news,” the president has attacked the free press, ridiculing media outlets that are critical of him, and calling the media “the enemy of the people.” When the White House selectively excluded some media outlets from an off-camera briefing with Sean Spicer, other media outlets — even ones favored by the president — condemned the exclusion. Some even boycotted the briefing. Just as the independent judiciary rose to the occasion when it came under fire, so did the free press.
Donald Trump has had a frustrating first 100 days.
The courts have stood up to him. The states have stood up to him. The American people have stood up to him. The press have stood up to him. Occasionally, even Congress has stood up to him. It’s a hard lot for a bully like Donald Trump when others refuse to be bullied.
But during Trump’s first 100 days, America has been brilliant.
In 100 days, thousands of Americans have come out of the woodwork to announce their intention to run for public office. Tens of thousands more have begun organizing. Millions have become politically active.
In 100 days, there have been countless conversations about what it means to be American.
In 100 days, our constitutional framework — under an elevated level of stress from a potential threat — arose and flexed its muscles.
In 100 days, Lady Liberty came under siege, assailed on multiple fronts by those who seek to undermine her strength and who would snuff out the imprisoned lightning in her torch. She was berated and lambasted. Nevertheless, she persisted.
She persists still.
And so do we.
Donald Trump is beginning to learn that leading the United States of America is very different from running a business or championing a brand. You cannot simply buy the presidency and commandeer the country as you see fit. Our nation consists of hundreds of millions of moving, living, breathing parts, each one guaranteed a degree of power over the government to which he or she assents.
There will be no hostile takeovers here.
So here’s to the next 100 days, Mr. President. May they show as clearly as the previous 100 days that our Constitutional Republic will not only endure after your time in office has ended, but it will have grown even more resilient.